Florida is turning — scratch that and let me start over — Florida has turned into a fundamentalist hellhole that is bound and determined not only to miseducate its kids, but actively put their lives at risk as well.
It's sad enough that Florida is the state that shamefacedly must claim such embarrassments as "hanging chads," Katherine Harris (happily forgotten), Kent Hovind and the largest concentration of Scientologists in the country. But the cancer of religidiocy runs even deeper than you might have thought.
We've all heard about how a bogus "Academic Freedom Act" specifically designed to target science education, and machinated by the Discovery Institute, has passed out of its first Senate committee. But you might not be aware that what is already in place in the Sunshine State are abstinence-only sex education programs. And, like all miseducation programs put together by the religious, whose real motivations are to maintain ignorance and suppress knowledge rather than encourage, nurture, and cultivate it, the results have been disastrous. I mean, majorly disastrous, as in, we're damn lucky we haven't already seen some dead kids as a result of this.
A recent survey that found some Florida teens believe drinking a cap of bleach will prevent HIV and a shot of Mountain Dew will stop pregnancy has prompted lawmakers to push for an overhaul of sex education in the state.
The survey showed that Florida teens also believe that smoking marijuana will prevent a person from getting pregnant.
State lawmakers said the myths are spreading because of Florida's abstinence-only sex education, Local 6 reported.
This is so staggering that you really need to read it a few times before it sinks in. A cap of bleach!? Seriously, kids down there are that stupid and ignorant about their own bodies? Gee, Christians, that "stick your head in the sand and hope all that scary reality goes away" approach to schooling just seems to be working out great, doesn't it?
See, this is what we've been saying all along.
A sex education program, geared towards a segment of the populace whose hormones are rampaging through their bodies like Count Dracula at a blood bank, that delivers no actual information on the subject other than "Don't do it, save yourself for marriage!" is going to be an epic fail. Every assessment that has been made of abstinence-only programs has determined this.
And lacking accurate information, well, what do you think the little adolescent horndogs are going to do? They'll get their information from the usual oh-so-reliable places: their peers, the locker room, MySpace chat, wherever. And they'll get idiotic ideas in their heads because you haven't put facts there first. And that irresponsibility on your part will lead to irresponsibility on theirs, leading to more teen pregnancies, STD's, and worse. O the irony. But hey, at least you didn't have to subject yourself to the discomfort and embarrassment of having to get up in front of a class of horny teenagers and talk about the nasty, did you?
Fundies always have to learn this the hard way. Just because you don't like a fact, because it offends you, or because it doesn't flatter your religious preferences, doesn't make it stop being a fact. And harsh truths don't go away when you close your eyes to them.
You know, when you get right down to it, the worst that could happen if some poor dumb SOB grows up deceived about evolution is that, well, he'll just be dumb where that subject of science is concerned, and sadly bereft of a sense of wonder for the pageantry of life, and all that. But on the whole, someone like that can more or less get by in life as a cog in the proverbial machine, selling insurance or managing an OfficeMax or whatever.
But here, we see an instance where the pernicious influence of conservative Christian fundamentalism on education is more than just a nuisance. It could actually get some boys and girls frickin' killed!
Wow. Just wow. At least they've come to their senses and are changing course. I wonder how many unwanted pregnancies and abortions had to happen first.